Our Food Has Culture. Does Yours?
Some of our nutrition goals for March and April included increasing the amount of fermented foods we feed our families. For me (Daja) that meant brewing my own kombucha in March. I was intimidated at first. I have no idea why. It is seriously the easiest thing to do! We now drink it almost everyday! Feels so good to give the family something they love and that feels like having a treat, but is so good for their bodies!
Did you know that cultured foods help foster community? It’s true. It’s one of the old-fashioned practices of sharing something from your kitchen with a neighbor and as your own kitchen is blessed the love gets passed on!
I got my SCOBY (the kombucha “mushroom.” SCOBY stands for symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast.) from Kristina. It quickly multiplied and I shared the baby SCOBY with my parents!
The same thing happened with my April goal of making my own kefir! I got kefir grains from Mrs. Heather (link to her in our Apron Brigade). I quickly realized how delicious, easy, and affordable it was to provide my family with yummy yogurt drinks everyday! (I don’t know about you, but my kids can put away a serious amount of yogurt and that stuff ain’t cheap!) And then my grains started multiplying. So, I shared some with Kristina!
If you are not lucky enough to know someone who has offered you some food cultures, maybe it’s time you started the ball rolling in your community! We highly recommend Cultures For Health! They are sort of a one-stop shop for cultures to start your own kombucha, kefir, sourdough, yogurt, cheese and buttermilk! They even have soy starters to make wholesome (non-GMO!) tempeh, tofu, natto and miso!
WHY SHOULD YOU EAT FERMENTED FOODS?
In spite of me telling you how easy it is to culture and ferment your own foods, you may be thinking, “Why should I go through all that trouble?”
Well, let’s look specifically at the two foods I’m currently fermenting on a regular basis in my kitchen:
1. Kombucha. The process of brewing Kombucha is over 2,000 years old. It has been prized in China and Russia for thousands of years as a elixir of health. It was supposedly highly valued by Chinggis Khan (Genghis Khan to you non-Mongols) as the key to keeping his soldiers strong on their long journeys! According to Kombucha Kamp:
*Probiotics – healthy bacteria
*Alkalize the body – balances internal pH
*Detoxify the liver – happy liver = happy mood
*Increase metabolism – rev your internal engine
*Improve digestion – keep your system moving
*Rebuild connective tissue – helps with arthritis, gout, asthma, rheumatism
*Boost energy – helps with chronic fatigue
*Reduce blood pressure
*Relieve headaches & migraines
*Reduce kidney stones
*High in antioxidants – destroy free-radicals that cause cancer
*High in polyphenols
*Heal excema – can be applied topically to soften the skin
*Speed healing of ulcers – kills h.pylori on contact
*Help clear up candida & yeast infections
*Aid healthy cell regeneration
*Reduce gray hair
*Lower glucose levels – prevents spiking from eating
That sounds fairly appealing, no? And what is great is that this nutrient dense super food costs next to nothing! It’s a couple tea bags, a cup of sugar, a gallon of water, and that community SCOBY! (I’m drinking some right now!)
2. Kefir. This fermented, yogurt-like drink also has a long history, touted as a key to long life and health. It’s strongly probiotic, full of phosphorus, vitamin K, biotin and folic acid! Having an upset stomach? Kefir provides bacteria to soothe your intestinal flora. Researchers are looking into kefir as a possible cancer prevention!
Here’s what I do:
Place the kefir grains in milk. Raw is best, but store-bought is fine as long as it is not ultra-pasteurized. Leave the lid off the jar–just cover with a piece of cheesecloth. Leave it on your provision room shelf. Every so often (I do it a couple times a day as I pass) give it a gentle shake or swirl. Just let it grow!Depending on the strength of your grains or how many you have this can take anywhere from 12 – 48 hours. Before you drink it, take out the grains and place them in some new milk! Now you have a slightly tangy milk drink that is perfect for a smoothie! This even works great in coconut milk as we’ve recently discovered! I put some fruit, chia seeds and sometimes a bit of honey or pure maple syrup in a blender. A delicious breakfast or snack that is way cheaper than buying a quart of yogurt that may or may not contain enough lacto-healthy-bacteria and may or may not contain unwanted stuff like artificial colors, flavors, sugars and corn syrup. I hope you’ll give some daily fermented foods a try! See if they don’t help with your digestion, lessen headaches, increase energy, and deal with those awful sugar cravings. We’ve made it a goal to have some cultured food everyday. Join us?
Disclaimer – The herbal information on this web site is intended for educational purposes only. It is not the intention of the writers to advise on health care. Please see a medical professional about any health concerns you have. Disclaimer – These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. The information on this web site is not intended to prevent, diagnose, treat, or cure any disease.